Stanford alumna and Palo Alto resident Shelley Ratay has been appointed as Sempervirens Fund's executive director, the board of directors announced Monday, March 16. Ratay will lead the 115-year-old land trust's efforts in protecting local redwood forests and parks. She will start her new position on April 1.
Ratay, who joined Sempervirens Fund as deputy executive director last year, brings to the nonprofit organization a "wealth of conservation, land use and community development experience, combined with a Stanford MBA and a deep commitment to environmental stewardship," a press release states.
Her resume includes stints at Conservation International, The Trust for Public Land, investment management company Beartooth Capital, and First Community Housing, a San Jose-based developer of affordable housing. Ratay is also a founding board member of Legacy Philanthropy Works in Santa Barbara.
"Shelley epitomizes our bright future. She's compassionate, super smart, and has the perfect blend of nonprofit management and conservation experience. Her passion and authenticity bring out the best in people, making her a natural leader," stated Fred Keeley, Sempervirens Fund board president, in a press release.
Ratay is tasked with guiding Sempervirens Fund in achieving its "Great Park" campaign for the Santa Cruz Mountains, which is the organization's vision for a "beautiful, healthy, accessible redwood forest between Silicon Valley and the Pacific Ocean," according to its website; heading current major projects, including the development of a new visitor center at Castle Rock State Park; overseeing the campaign for Santa Cruz Redwoods National Monument; and convening Stewardship 5.0, a regional initiative aimed at bringing diverse land-management stakeholders together to seek large-scale collaborative solutions.
"I'm thrilled to guide Sempervirens Fund during a period of important change, when our organization and land conservation methods in general are evolving to meet new financial and cultural shifts in California that impact our parks," Ratay said in the press release. "It's an honor to work in service of the redwoods, alongside our phenomenal Board and staff, and the incredible community of supporters that make our work possible."
After six years at the nonprofit's helm, current Executive Director Reed Holderman retires at the end of March.
Ratay, who lives in Palo Alto with her husband and two children, has a master's degree in business administration and certificate in public management from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and an undergraduate degree from Brown University.